Friday, August 15, 2008

Troubles are fleeing

Today is a very special day. Not only is it Friday, but it's also Erika's birthday! Erika's birthday falls on the best possible day because tonight's Garlic and Sapphires recipe is.....CAKE! So I'm sending Erika a virtual slice of cake and many many well wishes.

I think if Erika had her say, she'd probably want a fancier cake than this simple vanilla one. In fact, I happen to know that even though she's sick as a dog, she's making herself a lah-ti-dah Italian rum cake to celebrate. Well you know what Erika? Be happy with your vanilla cake. If you had been born a day earlier we'd be celebrating by sticking a candle in a scallion dumpling.

Reichl makes this cake with her son and his friends. I'm willing to bet that her kitchen was as equally covered in flour as mine was - however, I don't have the excuse of three 8 year olds helping me cook. I'm going to start recruiting kids to come over so I have an excuse for all the batter that inevitably ends up in my hair.

As I said, this isn't a fancy cake - Thatboy was disappointed in the lack of frosting - but it was so easy I made it on a weeknight...and I never bake on weeknights. There's something so simple and sweet about this cake. It's not overly sweet, leaving your mouth sticky - instead, it leaves a faint trace of sugar in the mouth, and the sweet aroma of vanilla in the air. I brought the cake into work where it made a welcomed breakfast for many, and a mid afternoon snack for others. The texture isn't light, but neither is it dense. Instead it rests in that middle "cakey" ground - which is an apt texture for a cake!

So Happy Birthday Erika! Enjoy your not too sweet, not too dense simple vanilla cake. And feel better soon!!!!!

Nicky's Vanilla Cake

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an angel food cake or a bundt cake pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and add this to the butter mixture, mixing well. Add the sour cream and mix well; then mix in the vanilla. (The batter will be thick.)
  4. Pour the batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden. Let cake rest for 5 minutes before turning it out of the pan.
Serves 10.
Each serving has:
Calories 394.2
Total Fat 23.1 g
Saturated Fat 13.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.8 g
Cholesterol 122.9 mg
Sodium 488.0 mg
Potassium 86.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 40.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Sugars 20.4 g
Protein 5.4 g


  1. You're so sweet! (No pun intended!) Thanks for the slice of cake- it looks fantastic. I've actually yet to find a good, moist yellow cake recipe that isn't dry as toast, so this is a perfect gift!

    My fancy-schmancy Italian cake isn't done yet (so many pieces to put together) and I appreciate having a virtual slice on the day of.

    Also, I'm sure the lit dumpling would have been tasty too, just a little odd. Ha!

    You're the best!!!!!

  2. I always coat the kitchen in flour as well. I've got to figure out how to not do that so much. :-)

  3. Yum I love frosting-less vanilla cakes (sorry, Thatboy).

  4. for cake, sometimes simplest is bet. looks good.

  5. i like cake, and usually without frosting. looks good!

  6. Cake is almost always a hit, simple or otherwise. :)

  7. Sometimes a simple cake is best. I could always just do a frosting shot on the side :)

  8. Have I already told you I love this cake - no? Well, consider yourself told. Your comment earlier on our blog killed me. Somehow you don't seem the shy type - certainly you could talk them into just a little flour. :)

  9. This sounds yummy, I love making cakes!

  10. without the frosting, it makes it much more breakfast-worthy ;)